feel (v.)

Old English felan "to touch or have a sensory experience of; perceive, sense (something)," in late Old English "have a mental perception," from Proto-Germanic *foljanan (source also of Old Saxon gifolian, Old Frisian fela, Dutch voelen, Old High German vuolen, German fühlen "to feel," Old Norse falma "to grope"), which is of uncertain origin, possibly from a PIE *pal- "to touch, feel, shake, strike softly" (source also of Greek psallein "to pluck" the harp), or from PIE root *pel- (5) "to thrust, strike, drive."

In Germanic languages, the specific word for "perceive by sense of touch" has tended to evolve to apply to the emotions. The connecting notion might be "perceive through senses which are not referred to any special organ." Sense of "be conscious of a tactile sensation, sense pain, pleasure, illness, etc.; have an emotional experience or reaction," developed by c. 1200, also "have an opinion or conviction;" that of "to react with sympathy or compassion" is from mid-14c. Meaning "to try by touch" is from early 14c. From late 14c. as "know (something) beforehand, to have foreknowledge of." To feel like "want to" attested from 1829.

feel (n.)

early 13c., "sensation, understanding," from feel (v.). Meaning "action of feeling" is from mid-15c. That of "sensation produced (by an object, surface, etc.)" is from 1739. Slang sense of "a sexual grope" is from 1932; from verbal phrase to feel (someone) up (1930).

Definitions of feel
feel (v.)
undergo an emotional sensation or be in a particular state of mind;
She felt resentful
He felt regret
Synonyms: experience
feel (v.)
come to believe on the basis of emotion, intuitions, or indefinite grounds;
I feel that he doesn't like me
Synonyms: find
feel (v.)
perceive by a physical sensation, e.g., coming from the skin or muscles;
He felt the wind
He felt his flesh crawl
She felt the heat when she got out of the car
She felt an object brushing her arm
Synonyms: sense
feel (v.)
be conscious of a physical, mental, or emotional state;
She felt tired after the long hike
My cold is gone--I feel fine today
She felt sad after her loss
feel (v.)
have a feeling or perception about oneself in reaction to someone's behavior or attitude;
You make me feel naked
She felt small and insignificant
I made the students feel different about themselves
feel (v.)
undergo passive experience of;
she felt his contempt of her
her fingers felt their way through the string quartet
We felt the effects of inflation
feel (v.)
be felt or perceived in a certain way;
The sheets feel soft
The ground feels shaky
feel (v.)
grope or feel in search of something;
He felt for his wallet
feel (v.)
examine by touch;
Synonyms: finger
feel (v.)
examine (a body part) by palpation;
The runner felt her pulse
Synonyms: palpate
feel (v.)
find by testing or cautious exploration;
He felt his way around the dark room
feel (v.)
produce a certain impression;
It feels nice to be home again
feel (v.)
pass one's hands over the sexual organs of;
He felt the girl in the movie theater
feel (n.)
an intuitive awareness;
he has a feel for animals
it's easy when you get the feel of it
feel (n.)
the general atmosphere of a place or situation and the effect that it has on people;
the feel of the city excited him
Synonyms: spirit / tone / feeling / flavor / flavour / look / smell
feel (n.)
a property perceived by touch;
Synonyms: tactile property
feel (n.)
manual stimulation of the genital area for sexual pleasure;
the girls hated it when he tried to sneak a feel